Denise Miller interview: "I have been asked to give a brief biography of my life by DERMASCOPE MAGAZINE; it seems I have been declared a legend in our industry. What constitutes a Legend? Endurance, talent, timing, all of this, however, I believe it takes more than this. I think it takes an inheritance of Bulldog Tenacity! To know when your right and when you come to a decision you stand by it. I believe it goes with the American Soil-territory, so to speak. I will begin at the beginning."
"I was born Denise Estelle O'Moore, September 22, 1932. My parents a mother, Ingrid Lovgren O'Moore, Swedish born, and father Dennis Earl O'Moore, Irish-German. This combination of gems can only produce bulldog tenacity."
"In any field I chose, I believe I would have left an imprint. This is not a boast, but I simply feel that it denotes a person who with good moral training and belief in herself, whatever her field will succeed."
"My first introduction to the beauty industry was a terrier who never had bangs because I kept cutting them off, and my mother taught me to give my doll a facial with lard (these were depression days). I was taught to appreciate beauty in any form. When money isn't too prevalent we always revert to the basics, because that is where beauty lies, in the basics."
"When I reached thirteen years of age a dear friend, Helen Perrin told me if you are going to be a beauty operator you will always have an income."
"My father did not believe in education for women and at the age of sixteen years of age he suggested I quit school and go to work. I knew him to be a hard but just man he taught me that ‘our word' had always been highly defended in the family."
"That is why I have always had some problems in our industry. The reason I have had problems in the industry is because I have found that not everyone shares that idea of ‘word of honor."
"So we agreed by handshake, if I could pay my own way to high school I could go, but when it starts to cost my family money I must quit. I quickly got a job at a five and ten cent store after school and on Saturdays."
"When I called the beauty school from the principals' office at school, they told me the tuition would be $20.00 per month, and the total cost was $265.00. In 1951 that was a great deal of money, remember new automobiles sold for $500.00."
"With bulldog tenacity! I pulled my grades up to the honor roll, received a tuition award, and worked the lunch line at high school for $5.00 per week, which was exactly my tuition in beauty school!"
"At this point in my life I learned discipline and frugality. I weighed 110 punds and controlled high school kids at lunch including the football team. By the age of 18 I had learned to manage my money in order to survive."
"My father was not happy with my becoming a beauty operator. In those days women did not have good reputations if they were beauty operators. In fact, Dillinger was only able to be caught because of his shady life with a manicurist in Cincinnati, Ohio."
"My first job was with Gladys Fuller in Cincinnati where I worked for three years. During this time I learned hairstyling competition and I became a member of NHCA, and from this I learned of dishonesty in competition."
"I later moved to Texas with my first child, had another child and started all over again in the hairdressing profession. I rose again to the top and in Texas I again ran into professional jealousy. This is one part of our business which keeps us from being truly professional. I know in other professions they have jealousy, but I don't believe it comes to the point of ours."
"I made the C.D.C. which is the Coiffure Design Committee in 1976 along with Randy Rick, Michael Taylor and Lyle McCaig. I created the curly perm look. It became the hottest style and stayed strong for ten years. Yet because of professional jealousy in the THCA (Texas division of NCA) who choose never to show to the cosmetologist in Texas the trend release. Even though I reported it to the NCA National President, nothing was ever done. When I saw the value put on professional performance verse personal influence I decided to turn my face to skin care."
"While on a flight to New York City, I met Ron Renee. We discussed skin care and I told him, I wanted to start a skin care organization and he agreed. He was to be the business and I would be the aesthetic technique. It worked well and we created an organization, Aestheticians International Association (A.I.A.), which held professional jealousy on such high level it was beyond ones belief."
"In Las Vegas, we gave the first demonstration of aesthetics to the National Cosmetology Schools Association to encourage beauty school owners to incorporate skin care as a specialty course. We recommended each school owner try and establish a separate license for aesthetics within their state. To date there are 25 states with licenses."
"We conduct classes on skin care, makeup and body care for the NHCA at there semiannual conventions bringing aesthetics' education to the cosmetologist. We would have skin care equipment companies ship us equipment for us to use in these classes for very few had ever seen such machines in the late 60's."
"We held special seminars on aesthetics during many of the cosmetology conventions. A.I.A. stood for the advancement of aesthetics education and public awareness."
The beginning DERASCOPE MAGAZINE was started with the A.I.A. A newsletter which offered articles from various members and directors of the organization for the advancement of education and the industry. The newsletter increased the number of editors and advertising and was renamed several years later which was America's first and has grown into the largest and most prestigious aesthetic publication.
Denis felt that NHCA did not recognize all her efforts and contributions over the years. Changes in the A.I.A. business staff and procedures disillusioned her once again and Denise resigned her relations with A.I.A.
"Erica Miller became part of the A.I.A. organization and it was on this track that Erica rose to her legendary position."
"After resigning from A.I.A. I decided to investigate the field of massage. In skin care, body had always been a favorite of mine. Body massage really fostered my intrigue for nutrition. I realized that it was not only important for the skin but the skin actually demanded it."
"Michael Nealeigh has tried through the years to spread the word on good health. Even today as a profession we do not recognize the value of nutrition."
"I checked out many different organizations and chose The Shaklee Corporation as the cleanest, most reputable and undisputed leader in the field. I have been affiliated with the organization for over seven years."
"I now have the first registered massage school in Texas. The first week my widows were shot out. It seemed I opened the massage school in the middle of three of the strongest churches in Corpus Christi, Methodist, Baptist, and Episcopal. So I low keyed my advertising and two years later I had a strong foot hold in the business. Bulldog tenacity. I have graduated four classes of massage therapist. Some which are now working for medical physicians."
"I continue to appreciate the NCA for all the advantages they have offered me. I have traveled to Europe four times and visited the Senate. I have dined with actresses and Senators, created fantasies I hair, judges' competitions in makeup and hairstyling. I have appeared on Television wrote many beauty articles for many magazines and newspapers. In the future I would like to open a research center on Shiztsu and Maternity/pediatric message."
"I choose to do the cover story of Dermascope as I see the profession, Glamour, Grit and Education. At 57 I still have horizons that have not been tapped. I have made a great deal of money in the profession, but none of it measures up to the thrill I received when I took the examination for my CIDESCO."
"I have always needed to be with the best and this examination was very important to me. Normally you are given one year to study and prepare for this exam and the question from which the exam is taken are mailed to you. I had three days to prepare with no questions. If t had not been for Carole Waldeman I would have never had the opportunity. She is truly a legend."
"I took my exam which started at 7:30 in the morning and it was scheduled till midnight. This was the first to e held in the United States. When I arrived that morning I met Ursula Van Deelan I thought she was an examinee too so I tried to relax her and when I realized she was THE instructor for CIDESCO I almost died. My only equipment because I didn't know what to bring was a small box of Shaklee and Francis Laure Cosmetics. But with belief in myself I took the exam and was told by Jon Parker and Erica Miller that I had the highest grade."
"That evening at the banquet I had a drink with Leo Siroonian and Norman Mardello. I have included these people because they are the last of the real men, by that I mean those who are not afraid to get up and speak their minds with constructive criticism that will only build our profession."
"It has been my belief you listen to all sides when building anything. Ron Renee has gone his own way building his ideas and he has been highly successful. And in fact he had more aesthetic clout than NCA at this time and it is only because of bulldog tenacity."
"After ten years of different views I am pleasured to give this interview. I have tried to give an unbiased slant and have tried not to give any undue criticism."
"One of the high points in my NCA career was the evening I was able to honor Pal Pete Raffa of San Antonio, he was a true American. He serves his country well. The honors that evening brought tears to his eyes. He died one year later. Here is a man that never received full honors from NCA."
"Anyone who knows me knows my unequivocal passion for Italians, men, women, furniture, food, etc."
"The woman to whom I owe so much is Mary Healy whose massage method is taught in my school. She is truly Italian and a real gem. She is a member of ETC (Esthetics of Texas)."
"One of the most impressive classes I held in Corpus Christi, next to the POW/MIA seminars in the 1960's was when Verita Wells taught in my school.
Ms. Wells, a member of Esthetics America, Hair America taught an advanced course in sacral-cranial treatments. She also taught classes in muscle re-education with the use of electricity. She was able to achieve in two hours a face lift that lasted three months. This is the way of the future, electricity in the body. And if you need to learn electricity you need to contact Hans Taster of Dynex, Inc. There are many people out there that will help you. That's what organizations are for, to be able to meet and exchange ideas."
"If you are in San Francisco in July or at the Aesthetics World Expo' 89 in Dallas in September please let's have a cur of coffee and trade secrets."